When is an attack on religious freedom merely a good spirited difference of opinion among the faithful?

Trick question, easy answer: whenever Paul Ryan needs it to be. Back when Obama weakened the original Romneycare requirement so that it only covered birth control pills and not terminal pregnancies, it was a full-scale war on religion, over ruling the view of the Catholic Church, ZOMG, Jefferson wept! In a moment of unadulterated satire even Romney tried to jump on that bucking bronco before being thrown. But when a Republican capo pushes legislation against the core beliefs of the exact same church, that’s totaalllly different!

(TPM) — Under fire from the powerful U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops for writing a budget that cuts deeply into programs that help the needy, Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) defended his vision in a Thursday speech at Georgetown University.But his remarks were less an attempt to persuade his religious detractors than to undermine them, putting the Catholic Wisconsinite in the uncomfortable position of criticizing a frequent ally.

“I suppose there are some Catholics who for a long time have thought they had a monopoly of sorts,” Ryan said. “Not exactly on heaven, but on the social teaching of our church. Of course there can be differences among faithful Catholics on this.”

Yes, Mr. Ryan, I suppose there are. One of them is your fellow faithful Catholic, Joe Biden, Vice-President of the United States. And correct me if I’m wrong, but back when the same Bishops disagreed with Church doctrine on healthcare, you were one of the fist guys lined up to sink a shiv in their back for daring to side siding with women and the Constitution over your Church. As I recall, you were quite pious and proud about it.

The Republican assault on birth control was always doomed to fail. Every human on earth wants to control who they have sex with, when they have children, and who they have children with. Every Human on Earth even includes anyone who wants to control the reproductive choices of others. So this was always going to be a total loser, and they’d have known that if they spent more time outside their media comfort zone. That’s one of the few drawbacks of right-wing success: these days they can dwell almost entirely in a parallel universe of their own making and thus miss key indicators the rest of the world sees clear as day, every day. It was probably one fine day in that same fantasy universe when Paul Ryan blithely assumed he could contradict his Church along with what he called his own principles just a few weeks ago, without being exposed, yet again, as a complete tool and douche bag extraordinaire.

Here’s the thing, everyone in the political cosmos knows Ryan is a tool, everyone knows he is a douche bag. Everyone knows Ryan is working his ass off to curry favor with the  obscenely conservative wealthy in return for contributions and perks and maybe, one day, an invitation into their exclusive society. This includes everyone who pretends not to know Ryan is a tool and a douche bag, so why do we still have to pretend any different?

When Ryan dutifully reads his appointed lines and prattles on in between with lousy improv, why do we have to pretend they are not lines or improv, but real thoughts, backed by real principles, with consideration and research as foundation, i.e., some meat behind them, instead of the pure self-serving greed-is-good for me and fuck-you bullshit everyone already knows it is?

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